Mathieu van der Poel says uncertainty over when racing will resume has left riders redundant, in the dark over what to train towards during the coming weeks and months.
"No one can say when the next race is," Mathieu van der Poel told Het Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab) from a Spanish airport. "That makes it difficult. What are we still training for? Even the Olympic Games are no longer certain."
Of course, Van der Poel admits he knows there are currently greater problems out there that supersede bike racing.
"I'm not just talking about cycling. Of course, all those cancellations are a huge disappointment but in the end, it is only bike racing. There are currently bigger problems in the world."
Initially, Van der Poel saw the cancellation of Italy's March races as a surprise blessing, the Dutchman needing more time to recover from illness, but now faces the uncertainty of not knowing what to train and peak for now.
"It's too bad but as a rider you can't help it. So I try not to worry too much about it. I didn't even think those first cancellations in Italy were a disaster. I had been ill anyway and needed time. But now the hardest part is what are we going to train for the next few weeks? When do you peak? Nobody currently knows when we can even start again."
This sentiment is echoed by CCC's Greg Van Avermaet, who also tells the Flemish newspaper (opens in new tab) he has trained all winter for nothing and will now reduce his workload over the coming weeks.
"It would be absurd to train hard now if you don't know when you can race again. I intend to lower my fitness level a bit.
"Almost all of my winter training was for nothing. For months I worked towards this period but that has turned out to be all for nothing," the Belgian said.
Asked whether he should now turn his complete focus towards the mountain bike event at the Tokyo Olympics, Van der Poel still doubts whether they will even escape cancellation.
"But will they continue? That is also in my head. It is worrying just waiting for news. That is the most difficult thing, that total uncertainty. All I know is that I will be on my bike tomorrow and train for hours… But why? What for? Do you know?"
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
Remco Evenepoel set for Grand Place celebrations after hero's welcome home
Message from Sir Dave Brailsford suggests Ineos Grenadiers are also interested in the world champion
By James Shrubsall • Published
BikeExchange safe from WorldTour relegation, no more 'scrapping over points to the death'
"The points system is clearly broken" says Matt White, team's head directeur sportif
By Adam Becket • Published
‘I’m getting older by the day’: Mathieu van der Poel fears age is not on his side in fight for rainbow jersey
Dutch rider is one of the favourites to become road World Champion in Wollongong on Sunday
By Tom Thewlis • Published
Mathieu van der Poel takes GP de Wallonie victory in impressive showing before World Championships
Dutchman throws down gauntlet to Pogačar and Van Aert ahead of the Wollongong road race
By Tom Thewlis • Published